Just last week, the Mavs joined forces with the Dallas Police Athletic League (PAL) to host “Midnight Basketball”, a free basketball clinic for youth between the ages of 8 and 18. The event is held every Thursday free of charge from 4:30-8:30 p.m. until the first of August.
“We are proud to have such a strong relationship with the Dallas PAL through the years and be able to support their initiatives to build bridges through basketball,” said Emily Luth, Dallas Mavs community relations coordinator. “Each year we look forward to the events and clinics we get to hold for these youth and the positive impact it can have one each of their lives.”
Sports bring people together, PAL organizers said, but they understand many obstacles stand in the way.
“For some of the kids, unfortunately, the first contact they have with police is negative,” said Dallas Police Sgt. Brad Deason. “We want to give them positive contact (with officers) and let them know that we have a job to do, and we are police officers, but we still like to have fun.”
Sgt. Deason added that working with the youth and promoting positive change is one of the best parts of his job.
“Our main goal is to bridge the gap between the Dallas Police Department and the community. This is one of the activities we’ve been doing for over the last 10 years, to bridge the gap between the kids, the parents, and the police department.”
The PAL program brings youth under the supervision and positive influence of a law enforcement agency and expands public awareness about the role of a police officer and the reinforcement of the responsible values and attitudes instilled in young people by their parents.
Studies have shown that if a young person respects a police officer on the ball field, gym or classroom, the youth will likely come to respect the laws that police officers enforce. Such respect is beneficial to the youth, the police officer, the neighborhood and the business community.
The Dallas Mavericks have long been staunch supporters and allies of Dallas PD’s quest to utilize sports and basketball to impact the lives of young people living in our community.
Throughout the year, the Mavs partner with the Dallas Police Department for various events programs, like the PAL program and the DPD’s You(th) Summer Jobs Program. The program is in partnership with Safer Dallas and is being fully supported via private funding, with AT&T and the Mark Cuban Foundation serving as its founding, primary sponsors.
At “Midnight Basketball” last Thursday, the Mavs Street Team provided a pop-a-shot inflatable hoop for the youngsters and Mavs Champ made a surprise appearance. The youth then worked with police officers and other volunteers as they shared their love for basketball. The children also received free dinner, positive mentorship and lots of encouragement from Dallas police officers and PAL leaders.
“The Mavericks have always been there for us and we’ve done many activities together,” said Sgt. Deason, “and the kids always benefit from teaming up with the Mavericks. The Dallas Police Department can’t ask for a better partner than the Dallas Mavericks have been.”
ABOUT MAVS CARE:
We believe the Dallas Mavericks organization is bigger than basketball. Our commitment to supporting the community we call home remains as strong as ever. Throughout the year, the Dallas Mavericks players, coaches, and partners build a stronger community through our four core areas of focus: education, environment, health and wellness and military and first responder appreciation. This last season, we impacted the lives of over 55,000 DFW Metroplex individuals. Through our community involvement, we worked alongside troops to pack healthy meals for hungry families in Dallas, built basketball courts for area organizations, donated winter coats and Thanksgiving dinner to those in need and partnered with the Dallas Police Department for programs and events that show love and support to youth. We provided scholarships for college, helped MFFLs be MAVS FIT, integrated S.T.E.M and entrepreneurship programming in local school districts and much more. Visit Mavs.com/community to learn more.
NBA VOICES: BUILDING BRIDGES THROUGH BASKETBALL
The NBA family is using the power of basketball to break down barriers, bring people together and develop important bonds of trust between young people, mentors, community leaders & law enforcement.
ABOUT MIDNIGHT BASKETBALL
Midnight Basketball is hosted by the Dallas Police Athletic League (PAL), a FREE basketball clinic with dinner between 4:30 – 9:00 p.m. every Thursday night between June – August.